Ants vs. Carnivorous Plants

Ants vs. Carnivorous Plants

Oh no! AC Family, we have a serious crisis on our
hands. Look at how many ants are filling this massive
tank, the Hacienda Del Dorado, the home to our active colony of yellow crazy ants. This is the Golden Empire, our fastest growing
ant colony on this channel. In fact this 8 queen supercolony of yellow
crazy ants is so fast growing, they are set to outgrow this huge vivarium soon if they
continue on this path of rapid, unchecked population growth! Of course on this channel, mass execution
& culling of ant populations is definitely not our style! So I turned to you guys, the AC Family, and
on our Twitter page, I asked you, if you felt it would be ethically, ok to introduce carnivorous
plants into the Hacienda Del Dorado as a natural form of population control, and to my surprise,
by 65% margin, you guys chose the ant-eating plants. AC Family, you won’t want to miss these mind-blowing
scenes of epic ant vs plant action, and guys, you won’t believe the incredible plot twist,
so keep on watching until the end. In a world where not animals are on top of
the food chain, but suddenly plants are in the Hacienda Del Dorado, I welcome you to
another episode of the AntCanada Ant Channel. Please subscribe to my videos and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! So here’s how this all went down. Lately, the sheer numbers of ants that come
to the surface at every feeding has been staggering. Watch what happens whenever I lay down a tray
of honey, or some feeder insects. At first, a few members, and then a few minutes
later more, and soon much more, and then droves more! It isn’t long before a blanket of ants appear
on the surface clamoring for the food, like hungry savages devouring whatever I place
into their territory. There’s no denying that the Golden Empire
had definitely exploded in population. Perhaps it is due to the extra hot weather
we’ve been getting here in the Philippines, as it has currently been summer for a few
months now. This is the Golden Empire’s first summer in
fact, and that coupled with the fact that the colony has 8 egg-laying queens, and has
been receiving a full supply of insects and honey daily, it is no wonder the Golden Empire
is quickly filling up the Hacienda Del Dorado. The Hacienda Del Dorado itself, so far has
been good at self-sustaining. The organisms within the terrarium seem to
establish a nice balance and working relationship. Springtails which you guys officially named
the Spring Cleaners by the way, do a great job at taking care of garbage, we have millipedes
from a previous video eating up decaying plant matter, but nothing existed in our little
community of creatures to keep our ant population in check. And now, I have been noticing more and more
ants testing the security baby powder barriers for weaknesses, and based on past experience
we all know what that means. They may be planning an escape. AC Family, we have a serious crisis on our
hands. The Golden Empire’s population absolutely
needed to be controlled and immediately. Now adding a predatory insect or animal into
the Hacienda Del Dorado to eat the ants was definitely not an option. I considered possibly a toad or a gecko, but
no, such animals would undoubtedly end up being devoured by the ants. Although it is true that the ants of our Golden
Empire here are harmless to humans and seemingly non-aggressive, they are actually pretty savage. Their acid sprays can be lethal to other animals. This week, my pet bird managed to get into
the Hacienda Del Dorado, and the ants practically blinded her for a good two days. You can see what happened on a vlog on my
other channel. There have been many cases of dogs & other
animals here in the Philippines with severe eye injuries and even swollen tracheae due
to the formic acid sprays of ants like these. I highly doubt an ant lion would even be able
to survive the Golden Empire. It would drown in this swarm and fall prey
to these ants. So you see, unless we’re talking about a full-out
ant eater, placing any kind of predatory animal in here would not work at controlling population
size. The predator would simply not survive. But what if our predators were not animals
inserted into the Hacienda Del Dorado, but instead were plants. AC Family, meet Nepenthes, the notorious,
carnivorous pitcher plants. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? Here we have two hybrid plant monsters. These ominous plant beasts belong to the genus
Nepenthes. To the left, we have a stout cross breed product
of the species Nepenthes mirabilis, thorelli, and campanulata, all native to Southeast Asia. And to the right, a more slender hybrid of
Nepenthes ventricosa and alata, both native to the Philippines. These plants are gorgeous, but don’t be fooled
by their beauty. Make no mistake. These plants are lethal to insects. Let’s go over how these pitcher plants work. At the end of several of the leaves exist
tendrils from which pitcher-shaped plant parts hang. Located at every pitcher’s peristome, the
name for those glossy-looking lips of the pitcher, are honey-glands, which produce a
liquid secretion that act as the pitcher’s bait. This secretion is sweet, perfect for luring
in a potential unsuspecting ant. In fact, these particular species of pitcher
plants specialize in feeding on ants above all insects. So when an ant or other insect comes to drink
from the sweet secretion, the peristome’s slippery surface causes the ants to fall in,
and inward pointing microscopic hairs keep the ants from being able to climb out. At the bottom of every pitcher waiting for
the falling ants lays a liquid called phytotelmata which drowns the ant and digests it. A shielding flap covers every pitcher keeping
debris and excess water from falling into the pitcher which could potentially render
the pitchers ineffective. Let’s take a peek into this pitcher which
is midway wilted and doesn’t have it’s covering flap. You can see the liquid phytotelmata inside,
and wait a sec, there’s a tiny spider living in there. Haha! I assume it’s mooching off the pitcher of
any extra small insects that might fall inside. How funny! It seems some creatures are able to hack the
pitcher plants’ evolutionary devices. Now the reason I chose to go with pitcher
plants and not something like venus fly traps is because first, these pitcher plants can
consume more ants than a venus fly trap plant can. Venus fly traps can only capture as many ants
as they have traps, which is usually a small number compared to the number of ants we need
eaten in this case. These pitcher plants on the other hand can
consume are larger amount of ants, pretty much until the pitchers are full, and as each
pitcher eventually dies and rots away, new pitchers grow with every new leaf. Pitcher plants seemed like the better option
for what we needed. Also, I was surprised to find that pitcher
plants happen to be hardier than venus fly traps. As a child I owned a venus fly trap on 2 occasions
and both times they died. Venus fly traps are notoriously delicate plants,
while these pitcher plants are a bit more tolerant of various conditions. The only instruction I had regarding their
care was to give them only distilled water and provide them with good lighting. I was told, they grow well in hummus, coconut
husk, and peat moss which was perfect because those media were exactly what I used for the
Hacienda Del Dorado. Pitcher plants like most carnivorous plants
evolved their feeding behaviours in order to acquire needed nutrients, mostly nitrogen
and phosphorus. In their natural habitats, pitcher plants
and many other carnivorous plants grow in soils that are too poor in minerals and/or
too acidic for most plants to survive. So rather than relying on photosynthetic glucose
to survive like most plants, pitcher plants supplement available nutrients and minerals,
which plants normally obtain through their roots, with the constituents of their insect
prey. The idea of using these pitcher plants to
control our ant population still made me nervous, however, as I have never before done this
nor ever attempted to use a predatory factor to control my captive ant colony populations. Usually, most ant keepers either lower the
temperature at which the colony is at and/or limit the food provided to slow down egg production,
but I couldn’t lower the temperature as I feared it would have had a negative effect
on the Fire Nation which are killed by lower temperatures, and limiting the food at this
point would have lead to mass deaths within the Golden Empire. These pitcher plants seemed like the best
and most humane option. So here we go. My plan was to plant the two pitcher plants
here and here. They needed to be in a good location with
ample lighting, and every morning natural sun hits these spots of the Hacienda Del Dorado. I wanted to keep the pitcher plants partially
in their pots just in case I wanted to remove them for any reason and also to help retain
more water. So, I simply cut the upper part of their thin
pots to better hide the pots after planting. One thing I was told that I found rather peculiar,
was that the ants may, quite ironically, end up taking care of the pitcher plant, because
some of the sweet secretion produced by the pitcher plants’ honey glands actually does
provide ants with food as some ants are able to get away safely without falling into the
pitchers. So, I am extremely interested to see what
relationship the ants ultimately establish with these pitcher plants. It might end up being a partial predator-prey
and partial mutualistic symbiotic relationship. AC Family, let’s find out. I’ve covered my arms in baby powder to keep
the ants from climbing all over me and put on some gloves. Wish me luck! 1 – 2 – 3. I began to dig a hole for the first pitcher
plant. In the soil, I also found groups of brood
which I carefully placed aside for the ants to carry away somewhere else. Hole excavated. And now placing the first pitcher plant into
the Hacienda Del Dorado. Alright, and now for the second pitcher plant. This corner was a bit easier as I only needed
to relocate a large rock and place the pitcher plant in its spot. Done. Both pitcher plants were now inside the Hacienda
Del Dorado. Let’s watch. I held my breath! Ants immediately were drinking from the sweet,
slimy peristome. As expected, in their eagerness to drink the
delicious secretions, ants one by one and rather quietly began to slip into the pitcher. It seemed the peristome was quite slippery
as ants tried their best to gain footing as they navigated the outside of the pitcher,
only to eventually fall in. Some ants however, were lucky and managed
to leave the pitcher after having their drink. I looked to the other pitcher plant. This too was popular with the ants. It seemed this pitcher worked a little differently. It looked like many ants fed from the peristome,
but were also lured into the pitcher. Ants entered the pitcher freely, and some
were even able to crawl back out. From the looks of things, though, more ants
entered than were able to leave. It wasn’t long before the pitcher plants gobbled
up many ants, and you could see them inside their bellies! See them? It looked as though the ants were still alive
in the pitchers but could only climb to a certain point before slipping back in. Peeking in from the top, you could see the
ants, alive within the pitcher plants. I suspect that the ants would eventually simply
tire out and die at the bottom of the pitcher and then be digested. Watching the ants alive inside the pitcher
made my heart weep. This was the first time I’ve ever done anything
like this and honestly, though I knew this was something that needed to be done, a part
of me felt so bad for doing this. Watching the ants trying their best to get
out was difficult and heart-wrenching. AC Family, I know you guys feel it, too. But then, suddenly I noticed something peculiar. Checking one of the other pitchers I saw that
ants were drinking from the peristome but strangely were able to both enter and exit
the pitcher freely. I looked to the third pitcher on this pitcher
plant and shockingly, the same. Ants were not being trapped inside these pitchers. It seemed as though pitchers were only in
capture-mode for a limited time. I looked at the other pitcher plant and noticed
the same thing. Ants could quite easily enter and exit the
other pitchers. It seemed the youngest and oldest pitchers
were rendered safe for the ants, while only one pitcher on each plant was in their lethal
prime. How interesting… Furthermore, all pitchers both lethal and
non-lethal, both young and old seemed to be providing the ants with the secretions. Even immature, budding pitchers seemed to
be providing the ants with sweet goods! Woah! Suddenly, I realized that this was all part
of the pitcher plants’ completely ingenious design! You see each pitcher plant was only consuming
a small portion of the ants that visited it, while allowing most of the ants to leave unharmed
and with bellies full. This meant that these surviving ants could
return to the colony and let the rest of the colony members know about the pitcher plants’
sweet offerings, so the ants would eventually learn that the pitcher plant was a reliable
and constant source of food. It ensured ants continually visited the pitcher
plants, protect it from potential herbivorous which might come along and eat the pitcher
plants, and aerate the soils in which the pitcher plants grow. The relationship between the ants and the
pitcher plant was indeed mutualistic, and sure if you saw ants as individuals then yes,
the relationship was partially predatorial, but if you saw an ant colony as a super organism,
as a single animal, the relationship was completely mutualistic because in sacrificing just a
few members of the colony, it ensured the plant survived to give the ants a constant
supply of sugar, which in turn meant the ant colony would be nourised. The ants would also end up caring for the
pitcher plant via protection and soil aeration. Wow! I totally expected the pitcher plants to be
ravenous beasts, consuming huge amounts of ants, but instead, it turned out the plants
only took what seemed to be just enough, perhaps the right amount to get enough nutrients it
needed for its size, while still allowing the majority of ants to leave as their friends. I was mind-blown by this, and it was another
display of nature in its oh so familiar process of taking just enough according to what it
needs and giving back to the other living things it depends on. It was beautiful, actually and pretty inspiring. It made me wish we humans could one day find
our similar balance, and realize that the other living things we share the planet with,
should be given back to and cared for so that they can stick around, because after all,
in the end, we need them to survive. Thanks so much for watching another episode
of the AntsCanada ant channel. This is AntsCanada sign out. It’s ant love forever. Alright, AC Family was that a plot twist or
what? Now, I don’t know if these pitcher plants
will be an effective solution to the Golden Empire’s population control or if they’ll
even survive the harsh and untamed Hacienda Del Dorado lands, but if the plants eat enough
ants to get amply nourished enough to grow bigger, while also feeding the ants so that
the colony thrives, it will grow more pitchers which will in turn eliminate more ants. We will see how the proportions work out over
time, and I will surely update you on these pitcher plants and the ant population as time
goes on. AC Inner Colony, I’ve left a hidden cookie
for you here if you just would like to check out some uncut and unedited footage of one
of the pitcher plants consuming ants over a period of several minutes. It’s truly a marvel how these pitcher plants
are designed at trapping the ants effectively. And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week. Last week we asked: What is your favourite reason
why ants are the best pets, either mentioned in our last
video or your own? Congratulations to TheFatRat, who answered: Ants are great pets because they
teach responsibility and dedication. Congratulations TheFatRat you just won a FREE
Omni Nest Small formicarium from our shop. For this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: What is the technical name
given to the lip of the pitcher on which insects can find
the sweet secretions? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could win a free AC test tube portal from our shop! Perfect for offering a mini outworld especially
for those of you with new ant colonies right now! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload a new ant video every Saturday at 8AM EST. If you enjoyed this video, it would truly
help us out if you LIKED, COMMENT, and SHARED. Thanks, guys! It’s ant love forever!

100 thoughts on “Ants vs. Carnivorous Plants”

  1. Hey. This my first video. Can someone explain why the ants don't get out when he opens the ,,box"? too put stuff in it.

  2. Ngl, this is way more inhuman than mass killing (assuming they're killed quickly) since these ants just did slow painful deaths.

  3. I feel that fire would’ve been more humane. Also it would’ve been really effective to make some napalm and put sugar on top of it and put it in the ant tank so that they go to the sugar then get stuck to the napalm, then you light it.

  4. The plant actually eat the ants, turn them into sugar and feeds the ants that sugar and keeps part of the food for themselves WHICH MEEEEEANS THAT THE PLANT GAINS AND THE ANTS LOSE so it isnt mutualistic

  5. But you know as a community Pitcher plants community and ant community show predatory relation. Just increase no. Of pitcher plants.

  6. you must be a biologist. if not, you should go to college for it. im a former diesel mechanic, current firefighter with a love for nature. you have a gift man. thanks for these videos

  7. Wish I could’ve gotten a much better look inside the pitcher plants.
    Also I guess getting emotionally attached to ants is a thing?
    Heart wrenching indeed..
    Gotta pretend you care so people don’t dislike the video haha

  8. Imagine in the distant future, an alien traveler of unprecedented power and intelligence visits earth. they see our overpopulation problem on post on their twitter "hey guys would it be ethical to kill these monkey things with carnivorous space plants?" anD BY A 65% MARGIN THEY CHOSE THE HUMAN EATING PLANTS

  9. It good for them and we . Bc it will be overpopulated and you have to make it bigger but there to many ants so it good for we and they

  10. Plants are like people and the ants are like the mafia
    Ants: We will give you protection and food if you give us the sugar
    Plants: Ok boss

  11. Its not that venus fly traps are fragile and are hard to take care of its that most people dont know how to take care for them and the instructions are incorrect so they will die and will have to buy new ones every season.

  12. I felt so sad for the ants trying so hard to escape the pitcher plants, but what you showed next really blew me away.
    The plants only take what they need, and then give back to the lives around them to benefit them.
    We can surely learn so many valuable lessons from nature.

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